- Series: The Norton History of Science
- Paperback: 872 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (October 17, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393319806
- ISBN-13: 978-0393319804
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 41 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity (The Norton History of Science) 1st Edition
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Samuel Johnson once called the medical profession "the greatest benefit to mankind." In the 20th century, the quality of that benefit has improved more and more rapidly than at any other comparable time in history. With all the capabilities of modern medicine's practicioners, however, we as a people are as worried about our health as ever.
Roy Porter, a social historian of medicine the London's Wellcome Institute, has written an dauntingly thick history of how medical thinking and practice has risen to the challenges of disease through the centuries. But delve into its pages, and you'll find one marvelous bit of history after another. The obvious highlights are touched upon--Hippocrates introduces his oath, Pasteur homogenizes, Jonas Salk produces the polio vaccine, and so on--but there's also Dr. Francis Willis's curing of The Madness of King George, W. T. G. Morton's hucksterish use of ether in surgery, and research on digestion conducted using a man with a stomach fistula (if you don't know what that means, you may not want to know). Porter is straightforward about his deliberate focus on Western medical traditions, citing their predominant influence on global medicine, and with The Greatest Benefit to Mankind, he has produced a volume worthy of that tradition's legacy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Porter examines what healers have done and the impact of their ideas and actions. His focus is on Western medicine "because Western medicine has developed in ways which made it uniquely powerful and...uniquely global." (LJ 2/15/98)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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An enchanting journey through the history of medicine.
While doing all of these things, it remains a very readable book. Porter's writing style is lucid and at times entertaining -- quite welcome attributes in a tome on the history of medicine.
Having waded through other histories of medicine, I believe this is the best. And the paperback version is a wonderful bargain!
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